With the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 it seemed like the Harry Potter franchise had come to a complete close in just about every regard. The tales of Harry Potter were obviously over as creator J.K. Rowling had vowed against writing future Potter books but even more it seemed like the video game entries in the Harry Potter franchise were done as well.
Due to declining sales, diminishing quality, and the fact that Warner Bros. had stripped EA of the Harry Potter license, it appeared as if the video game adventures of Harry Potter had come to a close but for some reason that can perhaps be attributed to the dark magic that mass corporations practice in order to make bundles of cash, the magical journey of Harry Potter is returning to the world of video games.
We sadly aren’t receiving a new Harry Potter game based directly on the novels nor are we receiving the much sought after HP game that takes a note from Rockstar’s Bully by allowing us to be an actual student of Hogwarts. Nope, as much as both of those concepts and half a dozen others would be viable hits Warner Bros. has opted to do something that no one likely wanted in the first place: a Harry Potter game for the Kinect.
Coming out this Fall is Harry Potter Kinect, which as the name implies will feature lots of magical wand shaking and other such movements that will result in gamers, both young and old, looking absolutely silly. Based on the Harry Potter films, gamers will be able to explore Hogwarts once again but this time in far more “interactive” experiences as they partake in magic duels or try to grab the golden Snitch in a Quidditch match.
Based on the debut trailer for the game I’ll be honest in saying that Harry Potter Kinect looks kind of bad but in the sense that it'll be enjoyable as a mass goof. The previous Harry Potter games we received from EA weren’t great, but Harry Potter Kinect looks like even a step below those as it’s just more on-rails action with half a dozen motion commands thrown into the mix to make the gameplay even shoddier than it is.
The only real interesting, if in a slightly comical way, element of Harry Potter Kinect is that gamers can become their own wizard or witch in the game. Using the Kinect, gamers will be able to take a snapshot of their face and have a digital version appear on an in-game model that they can control. For example, I’ll be able to take a picture of my quasi-bloated Max Payne hobo beard face and transplant that on my game character so I can laugh endlessly as I battle Voldemort. For younger kids this feature will likely be a hit, but I don’t think it’ll be enough to salvage the game.
Even with Eurocom (Dead Space: Extraction, GoldenEye 007: Reloaded) at the helm and WB publishing the game themselves, Harry Potter Kinect just looks run-of-the mill. I don’t know who is to blame for such a thing but it’s safe to say that the Harry Potter franchise deserves better than what’s it getting. The only bad thing is that we likely won’t receive a good video game until the entire film series is rebooted in 25 years to make more money.
It’s funny that those involved with Harry Potter can move on from the series such as J.K. Rowling, Daniel Radcliffe appearing in depressing horror movies, Emma Watson shedding her witch robes in favor of a bikkini in a movie, but Warner Bros. is still focused on running the franchise into the ground with a sub-par video game that may shockingly usurp Star Wars Kinect as the biggest Kinect dud of 2012.